“Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is going to finish off President Robert Mugabe’s term in office amid top secret disclosures that a cross-section of international players are reportedly embracing and endorsing him behind the curtains to bring economic stimulus to Harare,” the media reported recently.
By Wilbert Mukori,Our Reader
No thinking man or woman will have any problem with Mnangagwa taking over from Mugabe towards the 2018 finish line. The take-over will be good for the country, if for nothing else; in that it will end the dangerous and very destabilising factional war that has been raging on and on in Zanu PF for the last two years.
However, what Mnangagwa’s backers must understand is that his take-over to 2018 is one thing, going beyond that is another matter. The people of Zimbabwe cannot afford to have yet another rigged election; we must have the democratic reforms and the free and fair elections. Mnangagwa will never implement the reforms and deliver free and fair elections because he is unelectable, not even a sustained Chinese-style two-digit economic growth rate can ever change that. Since Mnangagwa cannot win free and fair elections and the 2018 polls must be free and fair, it follows that he cannot be president after 2018.
Mnangagwa will scrap the indigenisation law and a basketful of Mugabe’s many other misguided and unworkable laws and policies. He will rein in some of the looting and plunder that have sucked life out of the nation. There is no doubt he will impress the International Monetary Fund and many of the other international players who have been itching to return and invest in Zimbabwe.
Given Zimbabwe’s present rock-bottom economic position, it is very possible to record noticeable economic recovery after a few months. The economy showed such growth after the formation of the Government of National Unity and the electorate was bowled over. It is not inconceivable to achieve the spring growth and bowl the people over once more.
The big question Mnangagwa and his backers will have to answer though is: will the signs of economic recovery, no matter how impressive they happen to be, ever be enough to make Mnangagwa win free and fair elections?
What Mnangagwa and his backers must understand is that there are many Zimbabweans who totally believe that it is in the short, medium and long-term interest Zimbabwe to dismantle the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship as soon as possible and replace it with a healthy and functional democracy complete with the guarantee of free, fair and credible elections. The 2018 elections must be free, fair and credible. That is not negotiable.
So to rephrase the above question: will Mnangagwa ever have the political will, between now and 2018, to implement democratic reforms necessary to ensure 2018 elections are free and fair? If Mnangagwa’s challenge was delivering economic recovery alone, then he would have a fighting chance; sadly, he has such a dirty past that not even the most skilful spin-doctors can ever clean up his soiled image.
Thirty-six years of gross mismanagement, rampant corruption and looting and murderous political oppression by Mugabe’s regime have taken a heavy toll on the nation. The people now not only mistruth the regime but hate the dictator and his cronies with a burning passion.
When former vice-president Joice Mujuru and her supporters were booted out of Zanu PF they thought all they needed to do was denounce Zanu PF and rebrand themselves as a caring people-orientated outfit and the povo would embrace them once again as their liberators as happened in 1980 — wrong!
Mujuru has found herself being bombarded with hard-hitting questions about her Zanu PF past. “My hands are clean!”
she screamed like a startled fork-tailed drongo, when she was quizzed on corruption.
Mugabe admitted recently that under his regime’s watch US$15 billion worth of diamonds was looted in the last seven years. The true amount could be higher.
Mujuru was the second highest-ranking member in the regime while all this wholesale looting of diamonds was going on. She is on record denying there was no corruption in Zimbabwe.
Even if one was to accept she has “clean hands”, does she deny she should have known about the looting and stopped it? If anyone loots billions under her nose without her knowing, then surely, she is just incompetent like Mugabe to be president.
Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa and the rest of the Zimbabwe People First leaders are having a real tough time shaking off their rotten Zanu PF past though they were considered the doves in the ruling party compared to the blood-thirsty hawks still there.
Now that Mugabe is riding into the sunset of his political career, Mnangagwa must accept the spotlight and blame for the regime’s crimes against humanity like the Gukurahundi massacres. Mnangagwa has since mounted a concerted effort to distance himself from that past, but to no avail. He has not only denied ever saying the cheap hate language he reportedly uttered at the time, for example, but has even threatened to sue former MDC senator David Coltart for quoting the statements in his book. The threats have opened the floodgates of public scrutiny — more articles about Mnangagwa and the role he played in the Gukurahundi killings have come to light. It is no exaggeration to say Mnangagwa has Gukurahundi tattooed on his forehead. With such a blood-stained reputation, there is no way he can ever win a free, fair and democratic election.
Mnangagwa, no free man or free woman would ever want a crocodile for president!